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The Saddest Movie Kisses Of All Time

Kissing is one of life's biggest joys... most of the time. As a greeting, an act of friendship, a romantic gesture, or a result of basic physical attraction, there are plenty of reasons to pucker up and put our lips on another being. And when we're not doing it, we just might be watching others do it — in movies, for instance.

Unfortunately, it's not always a happy action. Movie kisses can also be full of devastation and heartbreak. One kiss might be the last time two lovers are together, and another may be loaded differently — perhaps as a way to release some deep-seated anger. Darker emotional complexities are just as limitless as festive occasions are for smooching. With all that in mind, here's a teary-eyed look back at some of the saddest movie kisses of all time.

La La Land's 'What if?' moment

La La Land hit movie screens in 2016, but Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling fans weren't just excited to see the two connect romantically — they were champing at the bit to see it happen again.

The first time the two hooked up on the screen was in the 2011 rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love. Also set in Los Angeles, that one found Gosling as a commitment-phobic player trying to mentor a geeky and recently separated Steve Carrell on how to be a ladies' man. Subsequently, he meets Stone's character, who unbeknownst to him is Carrell's daughter. Though it isn't a musical like La La Land, we did get a taste of them dancing together when they engaged in reenacting the iconic dance move from the final scene of Dirty Dancing.

In La La Land, dance moves and signing are a large part of the package. The pair play Mia and Sebastian — an aspiring actress and pianist, respectively — who meet in pursuit of success. Despite their deep connection and big love, their diverging desires end up driving them in different directions. 

Five years after their split, Mia finds herself in the crowd at one of Sebastian's performances, and a dream sequence plays out showing the audience what their life together may have been like — complete with a kiss that makes you wish they would have stayed a couple.

Some Kind of Wonderful's 'kiss that kills'

John Hughes dominated teen movies in the '80s, and Some Kind of Wonderful was one of his best. Keith, played by Eric Stoltz, is a high school senior who lives on the poor side of town. His best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) is a wickedly cool drummer who is so over the cliched high school drama. She's got serious feelings for Keith, but he's too busy being fascinated with Amanda Jones, a girl who, as Watts says, "runs with the rich and powerful." Amanda is tight with the in crowd because she's dating the sports car driving, arrogant Hardy Jenns.

Keith's dream is to get a date with Amanda, and what seems to be a snowball's chance in hell turns into reality when he's in the right place at the right time. Amanda and Hardy get in a fight about his inability to be faithful to her, so she accepts Keith's invitation out of spite.

Keith goes all out for his dream date — to the tune of spending his college savings on renting a fancy car (Watts acts as chauffeur) and buying Amanda a pair of diamond earrings so she doesn't have to borrow them from her friends. She appreciates the gestures, and on their date, they do a little bonding and soul-searching about the circumstances that brought them together. The two do share a smooch, but that's not the kiss that makes the movie. In an earlier scene, Watts — who's already a little unglued by Keith's penchant for this popular girl — gets her lips on Keith by telling him she can help him win Amanda over. While the two are at the auto shop where Keith works, Watts uses a hands-on technique so Keith can practice how to deliver a "kiss that kills." 

When it happens, it's perfect: awkward and steamy. It takes Keith a little while longer to let his feelings come to the fore, but ultimately he realizes who has had his heart the whole time. 

Casper the Friendly Ghost's first and lass kiss

Casper's longstanding reputation as the friendliest ghost around doesn't necessarily place him as a candidate for romance. Plus, in most of Casper, based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost character from Harvey Comics, he appears as a disembodied voice from the beyond.

He maintains that jovial disposition despite being consistently tormented by his uncles the Ghostly Trio, who enjoy a more spooky form of haunting the new residents of Whipstaff Manor, including Kat, played by Christina Ricci.

It turns out she's as lonely a kid as he is a ghost, so they bond. As she sleeps one evening, he hovers over her and whispers, "Can I keep you?" He gets a chance to reuse the sweet phrase when, after an angel grants his wish, he gets to be a real boy for an evening. He approaches Kat at a party and asks for a dance. When he repeats those words, she realizes that this mysterious boy is Casper, and the two share a kiss before he goes ectoplasmic on her.

The Notebook's final kiss

The Notebook is on many movie fans' top tearjerker lists. First , there's the premise alone: A man reads his and his wife's love story to another resident of the nursing home where he lives (from, of course, a notebook).

Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling play the couple Noah and Allie Calhoun in their youth, and they do a bang-up job of conveying the relationship as it runs its course through a complicated landscape. There are disapproving parents, war, and plenty of other rough waters to chart.

The kiss that totally grabs the heart and wrings it severely comes at the end of the movie. James Garner and Gena Rowlands play the couple in old age. We find out that the woman in the nursing home that Noah is reading to is actually Allie, who now suffers from dementia. She'd asked him to read the journals to recall moments from the past. While he's reading to her, she has a moment of clarity, and they share a kiss. Weep factor: through the roof. The pair dies in one another's arms, making the recollection of that kiss just moments before even more devastating.

Marley's final moments in Marley & Me

If you're looking for proof that dog ownership if one of life's biggest joys, there's a place you can visit. It's called the internet, and it will more than confirm that people can't get enough of their canine companions — or ones that belong to others. In Marley & Me, Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston are the parents of golden retriever Marley, purchased to prepare themselves for parenting a human baby.

The dog is ridiculously cute but also a handful. We see their relationship change as we watch Marley age through his 14 years of life. Along with the fun and insanity of dog ownership, we see the happiness and perils of marriage. The couple has kids, goes through some job changes, and ultimately moves to a rural town where Marley thrives until he starts battling some health issues.

When it's time for Marley and his family to say goodbye, Wilson's character John holds him through the euthanizing, planting a smooch loaded with so much love, and a treasure trove of memories, on their beloved furry family member.

Lost in Translation's farewell kiss

In Lost in Translation, Bill Murray plays Bob Harris, an American actor who is not the hot commodity he once was. He's in Tokyo and connects with Charlotte — played by Scarlett Johansson — another person from the U.S. staying at the same hotel in Japan.

They're both married to other people but make a deep connection while they log time together, trekking around the city. And that's really what the movie showcases, rather than just a hard focus on romance — connections that happen organically. Sometimes they lead to something more profound, and in some cases, they are just blips on the radar; a memory or a what-might-have-been.

In this minimalistic movie, the silence says the most. The melancholy mood is reflective of life's lonely side. When it comes time for these two to go their separate ways, they share a goodbye that leaves them feeling lackluster. Later, when Bob is headed to the airport via taxi, he sees Charlotte on the street and has the car stop and pull over. He gets out and whispers something the audience can't hear before they share a kiss and part company. Much like Bob's midlife crisis, the kiss leaves the audience with a lot of contemplation.

The Godfather Part II's brotherly betrayal

The Godfather Part II is one of the most stunning examples of a kiss being used as a terrifying telegram. The mafioso tale born from Mario Puzo's The Godfather novel is full of brutal moments. A crime saga rife with adversity, it depicts the betrayal of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) by his brother Fredo (John Cazale) and outlines how blood doesn't always ensure loyalty. And despite familial ties, in this scenario with a betrayal this powerful, vengeance isn't a question, it's a matter of when and where.

The kiss that levels the audience in this classic is given to Fredo by Michael at a party when he tells his brother, "I know it was you, Fredo... you broke my heart." It wasn't just a big reveal for its own sake. The kiss is a symbolic sealing of Fredo's fate.

If you prefer a lighter version of the scene, Adam Sandler reenacted it in his 1995 comedy, Billy Madison.

Ghost's afterlife justice

Here's something we learned in 1990: A pottery wheel can be a spot where a romantic encounter happens. In Ghost, Patrick Swayze is Sam Wheat, a banker who dies at the hands of a mugger that attacks him and his wife Molly, played by Demi Moore. Before his death, Sam approaches Molly one evening as she's working the wheel, and a sexy scene ensues. Set to the classic "Unchained Melody" by the Righteous Brothers, it's the scene that has long defined the movie.

Molly is, of course, distraught by Sam's death. Meanwhile, Sam becomes aware of himself in this new ghostly form. Though he can't talk to Molly, he follows her around and watches over her. He decides to use his afterlife abilities and supernatural sleuthing skills to solve his murder, which turns out was arranged by his former business partner.

Whoopi Goldberg plays a psychic who gets in the mix to help both Sam and Molly, at one point allowing Sam to possess her body so he can have a dance with Sam. He facilitates some justice for the original crime, and can become temporarily illuminated in Molly's presence — long enough for them to say a proper goodbye and have a tender kiss. 

The Perks of a harrowing kissing scene

Depression is awful at any age. In the teenage years, combined with the multiple levels of pressure that parallel the good times, it can be all but impossible to face.

Charlie, one of the main characters in Perks of Being a Wallflower, knows this all too well: he suffers from clinical depression. He's carrying around some heavy internal weight, including family trauma and the loss of his best friend to suicide, the latter taking place a year before the movie begins.

He finds a dear friend in Sam (Emma Watson), and throughout their relationship, they share some kisses and discuss their feelings.

The saddest kiss happens the night before Sam is to leave for college. The two kiss and the encounter causes Sam to have a flashback about his deceased aunt's childhood sexual abuse. The next day, that same event has sent him even further down a rabbit hole of darkness. In the end, it helps him deal with some repressed memories, but seeing him get there — led by that kiss — is harrowing.

Romeo + Juliet's timeless farewell

Watching Baz Luhrmann's take on Shakespeare's classic love story Romeo and Juliet is the cinematic equivalent of a high-speed thrill ride. It's all motion and color as we see the couple meet, fall in love, and plow through their story until its tragic end.

The story remains the same in this redo of the tale of two teens from feuding families the Montagues and the Capulets, with a few exceptions. The families aren't nobles, as in the original, but warring crime families. It's still set in Verona, only it's Verona Beach, not Italy. The formal language remains, but the modernization adds some cognitive dissonance with its delivery.

A series of adverse events winds up with Romeo finding Juliet in a sleeplike state at a church. Thinking she's dead, he chugs a vial of poison, but it turns out she's alive. They have just enough time to share a final kiss before he dies. Not wanting to live without him, Juliet dies by suicide; they are later discovered, tangled in an embrace.

Valley Girl's grody breakup

A year after making his debut in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Nicolas Cage made a much bigger splash as Hollywood punk rocker Randy in Valley Girl.

From the moment Randy notices Julie on the beach, the two have instant chemistry, though they're from different worlds. Where gritty rock and punk fashion are part of his scene, she's in the crowd that adheres to what's hot on the radio and at the mall. She hasn't ventured much beyond mall trips and parties with her suburban crew. While at the beach, Randy's friend Fred overhears Julie's friends talking about a Valley shindig that night.

All decked out in their punk attire, the two hit the party, met with plenty of negativity from the attendees. After hiding out in the bathroom shower waiting for Julie to come in, Randy convinces her to go to Hollywood to hang out in his world for a bit. She grabs a friend for security, and they venture "over the hill" to a club where Randy is a fixture.

The romance heats up quickly, and the two become inseparable until Julie's friends give her an ultimatum: dump Randy and get back with popular jock Tommy or find herself in social isolation. 

Painful as it is for her, Julie decides that being a social leper is worse than picking the dude of her dreams. She breaks the news to Randy when he pops by her house for an impromptu visit — and kiss. It's just a quick smooch, but the look on her face as she tries to muster the energy to betray herself and break up with him, combined with his complete surprise, is a real punch in the gut. And the heart, too.

The magic of the Moonlight

Moonlight taking home the Best Picture Oscar in 2017 was a major victory on many levels. Not only is it an intensely powerful and emotional movie, but it was also the first LGBTQ film to win that award.

The story follows Chiron growing up in Miami, and the audience journeys with him through three chapters of his life — youth, teenage years, and adulthood — much of which is fraught with challenges, including living in rough neighborhoods, school bullies, and struggles with his mother. As a teen grappling with being gay in a hostile environment, Chiron is loaded with emotions that don't have many positive outlets. One night, on the beach with his longtime friend Kevin, they smoke weed and talk about life ambitions, and a kiss follows.

That's the real crux of the story. That's the moonlight scene, inspiring the title, the one that ties the story together. It's an especially poignant moment of self-expression set against a stark and haunting backdrop. The cinematography has a rich depth that pulls you into their connection.

We see the two later in life, and as they update one another on their evolutions, it reinforces how one single moment can shape or affect a person's life forever.

Casablanca's kiss is still a kiss

"A kiss is still a kiss..." That line from the song "As Time Goes By" is synonymous with the World War II-era drama Casablanca. Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) has pianist Sam (Arthur "Dooley" Wilson) play the tune when she stops in at her former lover Rick's (Humphrey Bogart) bar in Casablanca, Rick's Café Américain.

Rick is surprised to hear the tune and even more startled to see Ilsa. She's there with her new husband, a Czech resistance leader, and they need Rick's help to get him out of the country.

The turmoil of the times is exemplified in the love that Rick and Ilsa still feel for one another. In this particular scene, Ilsa's fierce resolve easily crumbles when she tells Rick that she still loves him, and they dive into a passionate kiss. For this moment and so many others, the movie is still considered one of Hollywood's best efforts.